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National Library of Wales
Celtic League, archive

Reference code(s): GB 0210 CELTLG

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Celtic League Archive

Short Title: Celtic League, archive

Creation date(s): 1961-2000

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.315 cubic metres (11 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Celtic League


Administrative/Biographical history: The Celtic League was established at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Rhosllannerchrugog in August 1961, and was known at first as the League of Celtic Nations. It should not be confused with the Celtic Congress, although the two organisations share many common objectives and some common origins. -- The League's fundamental objective is to act as an international organisation in promoting the political, cultural, social and economic freedom of Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Man, Scotland and Wales. To this end it campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental issues, reflecting both the similarities and the differences between the situations in each of the Celtic nations. The League is non-violent and non-sectarian, and aims to achieve its goals by fostering co-operation between Celtic peoples, developing consciousness of a special relationship and solidarity between them, making their national struggles and achievements better known abroad, campaigning for a formal association of Celtic nations to take place once two or more of them have achieved self-government, and advocating the use of the economic, social and cultural resources of each of the Celtic countries for the benefit of all its people. The League sees its role as secondary to that of national organisations, recognising the different character and circumstances of the individual Celtic nations. -- Much of the League's activity revolves around its quarterly journal, Carn (originally published as Celtic News from 1962 to 1973), which contains articles in all the Celtic languages and in English, and provides information on the League's policies and decisions and on the Celtic scene in general. There are branches of the League in each of the six Celtic countries, as well as in England, Canada (Cape Breton) and the USA. The rest of the world is covered by the International branch. The League's officers are all volunteers, and its governing body is the General Council, comprising the general executive officers (General Secretary, Assistant General Secretary, Editor of Carn, Treasurer, Chairperson and Director of Information) and the branch secretaries. An Annual General Meeting is held on a rotational basis in each of the Celtic countries. -- From the 1960s until the 1990s, the principal guiding force behind the Celtic League was Alan Heusaff (1921-1999), a founder of the League and also of Carn, which he edited for many years. As a young man, he involved himself in the movement for political and cultural autonomy in his native Brittany, and joined the separatist PNB (Parti National Breton) in 1938. During the Second World War, Heusaff became a member of Bezen Perrot, a Breton unit of the SS, as his Breton nationalist opposition to the French state led him into collaboration with the Nazis against the Maquis. He was wounded while fighting against Free French forces during the battle of Normandy in 1944, and was sentenced to death in absentia by the French authorities. After the war, Heusaff moved to Ireland, where he worked in the Irish Meteorological Service. He was the first General Secretary of the Celtic League, and held that responsibility for twenty-five years, becoming secretary of the International branch in 1986. His successors as General Secretary have included Bernard Moffatt (1986-1988 and 1991-2006), Davyth Fear (1988-1990), Séamas O Coileáin (1990-1991) and Rhisiart Tal-e-bot (2006- ).


Scope and content/abstract: Records of the Celtic League, including minutes of Annual General Meetings and branch meetings and other administrative and financial documents, correspondence, tracts, press releases, petitions, articles for Carn magazine, notes and press cuttings relating to the aims of the League, its policies, campaigns and administration, and also to general matters concerning Celtic countries and cultures, linguistic minorities, and political movements and ideas, as well as the compilation, publication and distribution of Carn magazine.


Language/scripts of material: English, Irish, Breton, German, French, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Cornish, Manx, Esperanto, Basque, Spanish.

System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW, following the order in which the papers were presented to the Library. The original arrangement of each group has been retained, reflecting the Celtic League's decentralised structure and the overlapping roles of many of its officials. Further details are given at the appropriate level of description.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue of the 1999 and 2001 Donations is available at NLW.


Accruals: Accruals are expected.

Archival history: The papers within the archive were accumulated independently by a number of individuals, all acting as officials of the Celtic League in various capacities at local, national and international levels. Details are given at the appropriate level of description.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by the Celtic League per Mr Alan Heusaff, co. Galway, Ireland, September 1999, and following Alan Heusaff's death in November 1999, by his widow, Mrs Bríd Heusaff, March 2001. A further deposit was made by Mr Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, Truro, October 2002, and by Rev. Gwynn Bowyer, Carmarthen, December 2011.


Related material: Records of the League's Manx branch relating to military monitoring, environmental issues (including Sellafield and sea dumping of munitions and waste) and campaigns of the Manx branch, 1980-1995, have been deposited at the Manx Museum Library (Manx Museum and National Trust).


Archivist's note: Compiled by David Moore. Compiled by David Moore. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Celtic League Website, February 2002; Ellis, Peter Berresford, The Celtic revolution: a study in anti-imperialism (Talybont, 1985); Synergon-Europa website, February 2002; Celtic League (Cornwall Branch) website (viewed 20/7/2015); papers within the archive.

Rules or conventions: Created following ISAD(G) and NLW Data Creation Guidelines

Date(s) of descriptions: October 2001 and November 2015.

Celtic societies and congresses

Personal names
Heusaff , Alan , 1921-1999
Moffatt , J. Bernard (James Bernard) , 1946-

Corporate names
Celtic League.


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